Crude nationalism begets violence

The opinions expressed in your editorial, ("Play games behind closed doors", 26 June) are of the kind I would expect to see littering the columns of the Daily Mail.

The overwhelming majority of those who cause violence are not football fans. They are the products of a yobbish culture inherent in a country that relies on crude nationalism to give it an identity, a nationalism that politicians and the media happily perpetuate to serve their own needs.

Furthermore, the football industry you decry as a damaging "gravy train" operates in the same way across Europe, particularly in Italy and Spain. Why, then, are the streets of Belgium and Holland not full of rampaging Italians and Spaniards? Maybe it is because they do not suffer from the deluded belief that their countries "rule the waves".

James Richards
Moulton, Northampton

This article first appeared in the 03 July 2000 issue of the New Statesman, And is there honey by the Tees?